I Witness

2003

Action / Crime / Drama / Romance / Thriller

8
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 32%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 32% · 250 ratings
IMDb Rating 5.7/10 10 1584 1.6K

Top cast

James Spader as Douglas Draper
Jeff Daniels as James Rhodes
Portia de Rossi as Emily Thompson
Clifton Collins Jr. as Claudio Castillo
480p.DVD
838.66 MB
688*384
English 2.0
NR
25 fps
1 hr 34 min
Seeds 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by innocuous 6 / 10

Very worthwhile movie thriller.

This looked like it was some sort of straight-to-video piece of junk, but it turns out to be a well-written thriller with very good production values. The plot is a bit over-the-top, but palatable. Spader and Daniels do a great job, while di Rossi is at least tolerable.

If you have to have justice and happy endings, this movie is probably not for you.

*****MAJOR SPOILER*****

The only problem I had in watching this film was that one of the critical turning points in the movie (you'll know when you get there) made me think of the Saturday Night Live sketch about The Pepsi Syndrome. In the movie, this is supposed to be a very serious flashback essential to solving the mystery, but all I could think about was Dan Aykroyd standing around as President Carter and Garrett Morris dressed in drag mopping up contaminated coolant. It makes me smile even thinking about it after finishing the movie.

*****END SPOILER*****

If you liked Traffic and political thrillers, you will probably enjoy this movie.

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho 10 / 10

The Wonderful Surprise of the Year: An Excellent and Very Realistic Thriller, Having the Style of Costa-Gravas Movies

In Tijuana, Mexico, near to the border with USA, James Rhodes (the excellent Jeff Daniels) is a member of the Human Rights organization, working as an observer of the election of the workers of an American company, represented by the member of U.S. Government Emily Thompson (Portia de Rossi). The local workers are supposed to decide whether they want the union in the company or not. Meanwhile, twenty-seven bodies of humble people are found buried in an abandoned tunnel, drilled in the past by the lord of the drugs Voltan. In the same day, two young American are killed while driving their motorcycles off-road, in a track in a desert area. These events apparently not related are investigated by Claudio Castillo (Clifton Collins Jr.), a honest detective from Mexican homicide department, pressed by James and his superiors. Voltan is blamed for all the deaths, and resolves to help indirectly James in his investigation. Douglas Draper (James Spader) is a cynical liaison of the American police force, working together with the corrupt Captain Madrid (Jordi Caballero). The conclusion of this realistic story is full of revelations of dirty secrets. This movie was the wonderful surprise of the year: it is an excellent thriller. There is no clichés, no special effects and the characters are very human and well developed. The screenplay is very tight, without flaws; the direction is outstanding; and the magnificent cast has a marvelous performance. The plot recalls a Costa-Gravas movie, showing corruption both in Americans and Mexicans. The resolution of the situation is not corny or commercial, and does not spare or redeem any character, what is not common in American movies. Congratulation to all the persons that contributed for such an excellent entertainment. I just do not understand why this movie has had no promotion from the specialized critics and means of communication. My vote is ten.

Title (Brazil): `Testemunha Ocular' (`Eye Witness')

Reviewed by david_topping 7 / 10

Well worth watching

I've just watched this as the late night film on the BBC and have to say I was really impressed. I soldiered through the first 10 minutes or so which don't give a good impression of the film. After that however the characters grow or seem to be more comfortable, having moved away from a slightly stereotypical "do-gooder" (Daniels), "cute American" (de Rossi), "resentful cop" (Collins) and "enigmatic government agent" (Spader). When the characters are established they really seem to have a very natural relationship and the film stays away from any hint of being a "buddy movie", which given the seriousness of the topic, would have been a mistake. What you are left with are just well seen characterisations, the same is equally true for the supporting cast.

I enjoyed the setting of Mexico and the urban scenes which the director used to make the film look very 'normal'; no glossy idealised Mexican villages but equally no attempt to make the backdrop look squalid unless it needed to be. I suppose this is no big deal but it did make me pay more attention to the plot and the actors.

It is the plot and its unravelling which makes this worth watching. The viewer is lead through the story only knowing as much as the characters, and like them, is led down some blind alleys before the denouement, which in itself I found worthwhile.

Like another reviewer I found the ending just slightly contrived, apart from that I couldn't see any faults and have to say I found this thoroughly enjoyable and considerably more captivating and enjoyable than many of the so called thrillers being released at the moment.

If you get a chance to rent this or it's on TV then I'd say it's well worth watching.

Read more IMDb reviews

1 Comment

Be the first to leave a comment